GAME NOTES: The West Virginia Mountaineers continue to search for their first- ever Big 12 Conference victory as they take on the Texas Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday.
Bob Huggins' Mountaineers took down Oakland, Radford, and Eastern Kentucky to close out 2012, but they were unable to carry over the momentum to the new year as they dropped a 67-57 decision at home to Oklahoma on Saturday. WVU is now just one game above the .500 mark and enters without a true road win in two tries.
Texas began to turn the corner after a frustrating start to the season in late December with an 85-67 rout of North Carolina. Rick Barnes's group then lost to Michigan State by 11 points before returning to the Lone Star State to handle Rice by 17. The Longhorns then performed very well in a tough overtime loss to Baylor in their Big 12 opener, which lowered them to 8-6 overall.
This will be just the fourth meeting in history between these schools and the previous three meetings were all decided by three points or less. Texas holds a narrow 2-1 all-time series lead after its 74-71 decision in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
WVU held a 43-31 lead in the second half of its bout with the Sooners, but Oklahoma closed out the game on a 16-2 run to spoil the Mountaineer's debut in the Big 12. They failed to make a good first impression as they shot just 30 percent from the floor and committed 14 turnovers. Terry Henderson paced WVU with 21 points, while Juwan Staten tallied 10 points and seven assists. Junior center Aaric Murray was held under 10 points for the second straight contest and he is just 5-of-16 from the floor during that span. Staten now leads the team with 11 ppg.
Texas was on target versus Baylor, hitting 44.6 percent of its field goal attempts with assists on 20 of the 33 makes. However, the Bears used a 36-9 advantage at the charity stripe to ruin Javan Felix's sensational outing. The freshman point guard poured in a career-high 26 points on 11-of-23 shooting and was just one assist shy of a double-double. Leading scorer Sheldon McClellan (15.6 ppg) posted 21 points in the setback. Julien Lewis is also producing a double-digit scoring average with 11.8 ppg, and Felix has risen his numbers (9.6 ppg, 6.6 apg) steadily as well.
Barnes has finally gotten the Longhorns into high gear. There will be plenty of teams to leave Waco with a loss to the talented Bears this season, but Texas showed it will be a tough out by nearly upsetting Baylor. West Virginia is going to have a rough inaugural tour through the Big 12 if Murray fails to provide much needed inside scoring.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 70, West Virginia 66
01/09 10:36:33 ET
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